New Year’s Resolution 5778: Stop and Taste the Honey!

The English word “holiday” does not convey the full idea behind Jewish celebrations and commemorations. And the British term “holiday” as vacation does not help give it any gravitas. The two biblical terms are moed, a declared time, or chag, a cyclical time. They are both related to the idea of declaring a moment in time special or unique, and perhaps revisiting that moment on a rotating basis to appreciate the impact of what is being remembered.  Indeed, the Jewish idea of holiness, from which holiday/holy day may derive, is linked to the notion of making something unique, special, and thereby sacred.

The cyclical holidays, such as Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot, have two themes each- one celebrates parts of the exodus story, and the other the season’s harvest.  Both should make a person pause, remember, and celebrate with thankfulness and appreciation. Shabbat has two themes- the rest ethic after a creation process and the “rest as justice” idea as a part of leaving Egyptian slavery.

So, what could we make of the themes of the declared times of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Their somber notes about repentance, change for the better, and introspection are important. But, coming as they do at the “head” of the lunar calendar year, they act as a keynote of sorts to the rest of the holiday cycle. As the seasons change, as the leaves turn colors and fall, as students go back to school and workers begin a new budget year, more than we declare these days to be special, these days declare and call out to us to take note. They plead with us to stop, take time, recognize changes both obvious and subtle, and take a deep breath and carry on. And as life becomes inevitably more complex and challenging, we need to stop and taste the honey; remember our blessings, the sweetness in our lives from family, friends and accomplishments.

Here are some ideas for maximizing your holiday time, and “stopping to smell the roses/taste the honey” curtesy of Nisha Moodley. Try them and they may become New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Hold the door for someone. Yes, the person holding the door can take pleasure in this, too. Be patient so they can take their time.
  2. Watch bugs in the grass; It helps if you lie down.
  3. Put lotion on slowly; Feel your hand against your skin; feel your skin against your hand. This is your very own body.
  4. Thank the cashier; Imagine interacting with hundreds of people each day and having next-to-none of them give you the time of day. Be the one who does.
  5. Check out the moon; she governs the Jewish calendar and the cycle of life.
  6. Feel the fabric on your skin. While you walk, notice how your clothing feels against your body, and notice how every brush ‘wakes up’ your skin.
  7. Skip- Even if people watch. Who cares?!
  8. Buy a magazine that you normally wouldn’t. What’s a subject matter that you’ve never explored? Cross-stitch? Motorcycle racing? Interior design? Check out something you know nothing about.
  9. Buy flowers for someone else. Receiving flowers is heartwarming. Giving flowers is a thrill.
  10. Feel the air on your cheeks. It’s quite amazing that your cheeks are absorbing water and oxygen from the air. Feels good, right?
  11. Write a little love note to your Grandma. In as little as 3 sentences, thank her for all of the love, patience and perseverance it took to create your family.
  12. Do a clutter tashlikh- Throw something out (or give it away). Right now, just go grab something that is taking up unnecessary space and get rid of it.
  13. Sign up for a class. What have you been wanting to learn? Take a minute now to sign up for a class.

Here is a baker’s dozen “conversation starters’ you can use to break the ice at family gatherings while avoiding politics or those awkward moments of silence or TMI.

  1. What is the funniest thing you remember about a past fall holiday season?
  2. What unusual traditions did you have around Rosh Hashana?
  3. Name one ancestor that you think about on Yom Kippur and tell us why.
  4. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own holiday traditions?
  5. If your great-great grandchildren could listen to this years from now, is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
  6. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  7. How do you want to be remembered?
  8. If you could add two commandments to the existing ten, what would they be?
  9. If you could break one of the commandments, which would it be and why?
  10. Share: Favorite Mother Moment; Favorite Father Moment; Favorite Sibling Moment.
  11. If your house was on fire and you could grab only 3 things before leaving, what would they be?
  12. Name one thing that not many people know about you.
  13. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself.

And remember that the most important app to download this season is Appreciation

Look here for High Holiday related Events!
 

Holiday events

Upcoming Events
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Fri
Dec
  1
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim Preschool)
2920 Arlington Blvd, Arlington VA 22204
Join us on on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month at 11am for our Shabbat Play Group! Play time, music, schmoozing and a nosh are all on the schedule. Then join the Rabbi and the preschool for Kabbalat Shabbat at noon. Appropriate for children 2 and under and their parents/caregivers.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Dec
  1
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
 
Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase MD 20815
Dear Temple Shalom Families, We are very excited for our next First Friday Shabbat Family Service. The deadline to register for our congregational potluck is Wednesday, November 29. Please register with the names of or number of people in your party and the (vegetarian, dairy, or fish) dish you are bringing. NO MEATS OR DESSERTS PLEASE! The dish should serve at least 8 people. Also, please remember to bring serving utensils! You do not need to post your phone number or email. We encourage yo...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Maryland, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Fri
Dec
  1
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington DC 20016
This musical service at Washington Hebrew Congregation on Friday, December 1 at 6:00 pm will feature our talented junior choir, JAM (Jewish American Music), and a small instrumental ensemble. JAM will join Cantors Manevich and Bortnick on the bimah to lead the service, singing contemporary Jewish music selections for our prayers, and presenting a sermon-in-song of music they perform at the Washington Area Jewish Youth Choral Festival.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, DC, Reform, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Fri
Dec
  1
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Jewish rocker extraordinaire Sheldon Low will be with us to rock in Shabbat! Please don't miss this very musical and special service. Bring your friends!
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Dec
  1
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
 
Bet Mishpachah
1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
Bet Mishpachah, with great pride and joy, will soon publish the updated 2017 edition of its unique siddur, Shavat va-Yinafash and invites its friends in the wider Jewish and LGBTQ communities to join in celebrating the publication of the new Siddur by attending a Siddur dedication at Shabbat service on Friday, December 1 at 8:00 pm at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center. A dairy kosher style oneg shabbat will follow services. The first hard-bound edition was published in 1991 and was adopted...
Listed In:  GLBT, DC, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Dec
  2
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Join Agudas Achim Young Families for a weekly, volunteer led service for kids ages 0-5, accompanied by an adult. Congregational kiddush follows.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Dec
  2
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation (Julia Bindeman Suburban Center)
11810 Falls Road, Potomac MD 20854
Bring your friends, aunts/uncles/cousins, and grandparents, too, and prepare to throw out the rules when Billy Jonas hits the stage. A Billy Jonas concert is funky folk music for the whole family. It's a musical conversation, a sonic celebration, and a splendiferous gathering of young and old. Get ready to participate, because at a Billy Jonas concert, the ensemble is…everyone! Learn more and purchase tickets at www.whctemple.org/Hanukkah.
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reform, Children/Teens/Family, Arts & Culture, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $20 per Family

 
 
Sun
Dec
  3
8:30 AM - 2:00 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church  VA 22043
Judy's Place - Where Children shop for Holiday Gifts This unique, non-denominational shopping experience for children ages 2-13 lets your child surprise Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents and pets with holiday gifts. Children will shop with volunteers to choose from over 100 different gift options ranging from $1 to $15. Judy's Place enables the children to make their own shopping decisions, surprise friends and family and experience the joy of giving to others. Shop early for best selection.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Dec
  3
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
 
Congregation Beth Emeth (Marilyn Rosenberg Sisterhood Gift Shop)
12523 Lawyers Road, Herndon VA 20171
Our Hanukkah Boutique will be open Sundays November 19 & December 3, 9 AM -2 PM. The place for all your Hanukkah gifts and decorations: children’s and baby toys, menorahs, dreidels, Hanukkah candles wrapping paper, nut-free dairy and parve gelt, jewelry, hostess gifts, grown-up coloring books, sudoku books, mezzuzot, kippot, judaica, and more. Local artisans will also present their creations. Be ready to light the first candle on Tuesday, December 12! Questions? Email Gift-shop@bethemeth.org.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Fair/Expo, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Dec
  3
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center (Family Engagement at the EDCJCC)
1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
This Chanukah we’re making room for latkes AND dosas! Come meet Pamela Ehrenberg, author of the new PJ Library® book, The Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas, and enjoy hands-on activities, crafts, cooking, singing, food, a mitzvah (good deed) project and take-home goodies. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older. Brought to you by PJ Library, the Edlavitch DCJCC, Federation’s Jewish Food Experience®, Love and Religion interfaith programs and Milton Got...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, DC, Non-denominational, Children/Teens/Family, Arts & Culture, Culinary, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $10, $15 after December 1

 
 
Mon
Dec
  4
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County
8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814
Experience Jewish Meditation – a blend of chant and silent and guided meditation that guides us to a more meaningful relationship with God and with those around us. Spend an hour with nothing but mindfulness to distract you. Jewish Meditation will meet each month on the 1st Mondays at 7pm and 3rd Saturdays at 3pm. Questions? Please contact Hazzan Fradkin at afradkin@bethelmc.org
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Conservative, Fitness & Wellness, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Tue
Dec
  5
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church  VA 22043
Judy's Place - Where Children shop for Holiday Gifts This unique, non-denominational shopping experience for children ages 2-13 lets your child surprise Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents and pets with holiday gifts. Children will shop with volunteers to choose from over 100 different gift options ranging from $1 to $15. Judy's Place enables the children to make their own shopping decisions, surprise friends and family and experience the joy of giving to others. Shop early for best selection.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Tue
Dec
  5
4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church  VA 22043
Judy's Place - Where Children shop for Holiday Gifts This unique, non-denominational shopping experience for children ages 2-13 lets your child surprise Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents and pets with holiday gifts. Children will shop with volunteers to choose from over 100 different gift options ranging from $1 to $15. Judy's Place enables the children to make their own shopping decisions, surprise friends and family and experience the joy of giving to others. Shop early for best selection.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Dec 6 - Dec 10
Multiple times available
 
Bender JCC of Greater Washington (Bender Early Childhood Center)
6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville MD 20852
Presented in partnership with the IAC, we are pleased to bring you a Gift Boutique, just in time for the holidays! Read your heart out this Chanukah! Enjoy a variety of children’s books, cookbooks and gift books! Israeli Artists will have their incredible artwork on display for all your holiday needs! Boutique Hours: - Wednesday, December 6: 8:00 – 10:00 AM | 3:00 – 6:00 PM - Thursday, December 7: 8:00 – 10:00 AM | 3:00 – 6:00 PM - Friday, December 8: 8:00 – 10:00 AM - Sunday, December 10: 9:0...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Maryland, Arts & Culture, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Wed
Dec
  6
12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church  VA 22043
Judy's Place - Where Children shop for Holiday Gifts This unique, non-denominational shopping experience for children ages 2-13 lets your child surprise Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents and pets with holiday gifts. Children will shop with volunteers to choose from over 100 different gift options ranging from $1 to $15. Judy's Place enables the children to make their own shopping decisions, surprise friends and family and experience the joy of giving to others. Shop early for best selection.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents to you High Holidays: New Ideas for a New Year. No doubt there will be something in this book that will enhance your new year and bring your family joy. Whatever you choose to do, Make it Yours in 5777.